Lost In The Scars
WITH MY COFFEE IN THE MORNING I can handle basic communications – grunts, murmurs, and wheezes. That’s about it. I cannot deal with the intricacies of conversation with freakin’ looneys. It was things like that which contributed to my decision to leave San Francisco.
Most mornings the other worshipers at St. Arbucks can be described as a rather genial bunch who my wife calls the “Playgroup.” I think of them as “The Usual Suspects.” Our conversations are, on most days, about Sports, Movies and TV, etc, etc, anything but politics. If someone tries to bring up political topics I will pipe in with, “How about those Cubbies?” That usually gets us back onto less volatile subjects.
The other day we were sorely tested. I was sorely tested.
A fellow who bears a disturbing similarity to an actor from the old TV show “Kung Fu” has taken to making the local St. Arbucks his 2nd home – and possibly his 1st. In and of itself, that is not a problem. The problem arises when an idea surfaces in his brain. And his ideas tend to be expressed loudly, nonstop, and at high speed.
Lately his ideas have been about, in no particular order, yet connected – EBay, the 1969 Moon Landing, His distrust of foreign doctors, recently having been hit by a car, and Mowing lawns. He can touch upon all of these within a span of two to three minutes.
The other day he decided to join the Playgroup. We were very polite and did engage him in conversation about the critical topic of the potential value of Harlequin Romance Novels. After several topic changes we could see that he was becoming agitated, not with us, but some undetermined misdeed sometime in his recent past.
I tried to bail by pulling out of the conversation and playing with my phone in a pseudo-important manner.
It’s not that I was, or am now, trying to be mean or heartless toward the guy, but –
It is obvious that this fellow has emotional issues.
I lived in San Francisco, ground zero for weird, for 25 years and maneuvering my way over, under, through, and around legions of mentally disjointed people is exhausting. I’m not up to it any longer.
In San Francisco there were services to help the lost and dislocated emotionally, but in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Look, a shiny object!”) such help is hard to come by. It is available, but the person in need has to come to them or be brought to them after an incident that involves the Police. Unless and until one of these things happen the person in need is just “out there” alone and adrift on a foggy sea.
With the chap who has been coming into St. Arbucks I’m afraid that I think he will not be helped until he acts out violently. I can see an anger simmering just beneath the surface.
And so, here we are – watching this man disassemble before our eyes. The scuttlebutt is that he was at one time a Professor at a local university, and then drugs intervened. I would put him at about 40 years of age, but it is hard to tell. Life on the skids can scramble the truth.
Maybe all of this sounds cold and heartless. I don’t mean it to be so. It is just that I spent too many years face to face with it all and I have no more in me to dole out.